(A piece of fiction written thanks to a challenge from my Red Dress Club: Write a story inspired by a photograph of Royal Ascot from June of 2010.)
Rebecca struggled with the cover of her zoom lens. Finally it was off. She quickly snapped the lens into her camera and brought the view finder to her eye. She looked for the woman with the large, yellow hat and took 10 successive shots.
She had seen Frank standing directly in front of that woman with the yellow hat and matching yellow collar.
Evelyn had confided to Rebecca that Frank had promised that he would never feed his addiction again. The last fiasco not only embarrassed their whole family, it put them into financial chaos. Frank could not resist betting Evelyn that he would stay away from the horses forever. Evelyn accepted the bet, ignoring the fact that it enabled his habit, because, this time, it was to her benefit.
“Got you, you bastard!” Rebecca said to herself.
Cradling the camera to her chest, Rebecca grabbed her bag and squeezed past people hurriedly. The battery was dying. She needed a re-charge. Her heart pounded as she dashed into the corridor. She searched for an outlet.
She veered off to the right and checked different seating areas. She circled various columns without seeing any plug-ins. She decided she may have to wait to download the evidence to Evelyn.
The loo! Of course. She retraced her steps to the area where she had seen some washrooms. No one would be there while the Windsor Castle Stakes were underway. Especially with the French mare, Goldikova, racing now in the 6th.
She headed towards the washrooms. As she approached them, one of the doors opened. A cleaning lady appeared, struggling to bring her vacuum cleaner through the door. Rebecca impatiently grabbed the door and held it open, “Come on then,” she said officiously.
Suddenly she realized this woman was her lucky charm. She asked, “Where’s the outlet you used for your vacuum?”
The only electrical outlet was “just there in the nook.” The outlet, almost completely hidden, had been installed under the useless, down-sloping ledge that accented an ornate mirror. At least it was in a private location.
Once the cleaning lady was out the door, Rebecca sank to the floor. She searched in her bag, pulled out the cord, plugged it into the precious outlet and began the download.
As the operation began, she phoned Evelyn.
“Hi. I got him! Yeah, he’s here alright. You’ve won the bet. You just made yourself a pile of money, my friend. The photos are downloading right now so you should be able to see them any minute. No, I’m positive he didn’t see me. Check now and see if they’ve come through.”
Rebecca waited a few seconds. She heard Evelyn muttering.
“What are you talking about, Evelyn? He’s there! Right in front of that yellow hat with huge pink roses. Okay, wait. Let me bring up one of the shots…there we go…omigod! Evelyn!”
Rebecca could not believe her eyes. Frank was not in the photo.
She shouted into the phone, “Where the hell did he go? I swear he was right there. Honestly, I only looked away long enough to put that zoom on my camera!” Rebecca was incredulous. “What? You know where he went?”
Rebecca followed Evelyn’s instructions to look to the right of the yellow hat.
One lone woman, in a light orange outfit, stood with her arms raised in alarm. Rebecca said, “I’ll be damned. He wouldn’t have done that, would he? Well, I guess you’re right. Fifty thousand pounds will be a bite out of his pocket!” Rebecca knew it would also be a bite out of their marriage.
While on the phone, Rebecca had heard an occupant come out of one of the stalls. The woman seemed obsessive with prolonged washing and drying of hands. Rebecca checked to make sure her belongings were out of the way so the woman could safely pass through the nook when she left.
The occupant arrived at the entrance of the nook and stopped. Rebecca saw a pair of perfectly polished oxfords. They matched the dress trousers with wet knees that had been scrubbed clean. Rebecca looked up.
“Frank! What the hell are you doing in here?”
“I’ve been asking myself the same thing about you, Rebecca. This is, after all, the Men’s Loo.”